Lake Michigan

In northern Michigan, people who live near a landfill have been dealing with contaminated drinking water for decades. A new plan for the landfill makes them even more concerned.

Wisconsin factory sparks concern for Great Lakes water use

Mar 7, 2018

Foxconn Technology's plans for a Wisconsin factory were announced last summer with great fanfare. President Donald Trump led a White House event highlighting the factory that Foxconn says could eventually employ 13,000 people.

If you like ice, you have to love the Great Lakes, where it comes in all shapes and sizes. With the recent deep freeze, we're seeing a lot more ice than in the past few winters -- including a frosty Niagara Falls. ​Here's a look at some unusual shapes and sizes:

Over the years, pollution has been seen as a big threat to fish in the Great Lakes. Now, a data scientist says that might not always be the case.

The Great Lakes/St. Lawrence River make up the world's biggest freshwater system -- and an enormously valuable resource. It supplies drinking water for millions of residents and powers the region's economy.

Last year, 42 million gallons were withdrawn from the basin each day, according to a new report from the Great Lakes Commission. Here's where it went.

The Christmas spirit is popping up along the waters of the Great Lakes region.

In Port Huron, Mich., Santa Claus rode to shore on the Huron Spirit, a boat operated by the Lakes Pilots Association. In Toledo, Ohio, the tug Josephine brought him to the National Museum of the Great Lakes.

But the most poignant event of the holiday season was in Chicago, where the sinking of  "The Christmas Tree Ship" was remembered recently.


At Brighton Beach outside Duluth, the waters of Lake Superior are stunningly clear. Looking into about six feet of water, it’s easy to see smooth rocks at the bottom.

But Lake Superior has lost its long-held title as the clearest of the Great Lakes. A recent study showed that lakes Michigan and Huron have changed drastically.


A $275 million plan to keep Asian carp from reaching Lake Michigan -- and the Great Lakes system -- drew both criticism and praise at a hearing in Chicago.

A new report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration calls 2016 the warmest year on record around the globe.  The surface temperature of the Great Lakes was also above average -- and that's not good news.

In a long-awaited report, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says new measures are needed to prevent Asian carp from getting into the Great Lakes.

The report says the current defense at the Brandon Road lock in Illinois – an underwater electric barrier – should be beefed up. The Army Corps' recommended plan would add water jets and complex noises – like the underwater recordings of a boat motor. 

Michigan officials have terminated a contract with a firm analyzing a controversial petroleum pipeline that runs through the Great Lakes, due to an employee's alleged conflict of interest.

Can Asian carp be kept out of Lake Michigan?

Jun 13, 2017

Part 2 in a series about President Trump's budget

President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget plan eliminates a $300 million program to restore the Great Lakes. The plan is sparking concern among environmentalists, because a lot of that money is used to protect the lakes from a voracious fish known as the Asian carp.

June marks the beginning of beach season in the Great Lakes – but it also means more people are at risk of drowning.  What does it mean to see a red flag at the beach?


In a conference call Thursday afternoon, the Great Lakes Compact Council upheld its decision allowing Waukesha, ​Wisc., to draw water from Lake Michigan.

Representatives for all eight Great Lakes states voted to deny a challenge brought by local officials across the region.

Great Lakes town raises money online to save harbor

Apr 20, 2017

Leland Harbormaster Russell Dzuba is walking down a metal gangway to get a look at the harbor in this northern Michigan town.

Normally, there would be some activity this time of year – but the harbor is empty.

“We’re looking at water that’s about six inches deep right over there,” he says.

Talk of a fictional pipeline that could carry Great Lakes water to the Southwest caused a recent uproar from folks around the lakes. But the NASA scientist who mentioned the idea says Phoenix and other desert cities aren’t coming for the Great Lakes’ water any time soon.

Great Lakes beaches have always been popular for tourists. But in the 1970s and 80s, they were also prime real estate for nuclear power plants because there was lots of water to cool the reactors.

Now there are nine nuclear plants on the U.S. side of the lakes -- but cheaper energy sources are forcing some to shut down. And in one Michigan town, residents are divided about a shutdown.

A budget proposal to slash federal funds for the Great Lakes cleanup is being skewered in the opinion pages of the region's newspapers.

In Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota and other Great Lakes states, editorials have called the draft proposal "foolish," "unacceptable" and a "job-killer."

Add this to the unexpected news coming out of the Great Lakes region: a huge fireball tearing across the midwest skies early Monday, headed for Lake Michigan.

Remarkable video from several sources, including a police dashboard camera, shows a blue-green fireball searing the night sky.

A Wisconsin town is getting a lot of attention these days -- on the issue of drinking water.


Waukesha lies outside the Great Lakes basin, but it has received permission to take water from Lake Michigan. Officials are still debating the impact of the precedent-setting decision – and a group of mayors is challenging the town’s action.


Meanwhile, Waukesha is moving full speed ahead.  

The U.S. government is seeking public comment on plans to protect historic shipwrecks by creating a new national marine sanctuary in Lake Michigan.

On Monday, Jan. 9, NOAA began taking comments on its plan to protect 1,075 square miles of the lake. 

Across the Great Lakes, 2016 brought a lot of conflict, with battles over water diversion, petroleum pipelines and other issues.  

The big, strong Chinook salmon is a favorite of anglers on the Great Lakes. But New York and Michigan are reducing the number of Chinook they stock in the lakes and some are worried it could hurt the region's sport fishing economy.

The Great Lakes have their own miniature version of tsunamis – more than 100 times per year.  That’s according to new research led by the University of Wisconsin Madison.  The name of these waves – and the danger that comes with them – are relatively unknown to those in the region. 

What's killing birds on Lake Michigan?

Nov 14, 2016
Sam Corden

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is famous for its natural beauty.

But on this November day, the beach is littered with about two dozen dead birds: scoters, loons, ducks and others.

The head of the National Museum of the Great Lakes is on a quest. He’s trying to locate Navy pilots who trained on Lake Michigan during World War II. It’s a little known chapter of the lake’s history.

Can we sell cattails -- and save wetlands?

Oct 31, 2016

Standing in the middle of Michigan's Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, it’s hard to comprehend the size. It’s about two-thirds the size of Manhattan – some 10,000 acres of marshes and bogs, forest and farm land.

Everywhere you look; there’s a hawk or a heron. Bushes rustle with rodents; and the air is filled with mosquitos.

Here, researchers are tackling invasive cattails -- a common problem in wetlands across the Great Lakes.  

Erosion threatens homes on Lake Michigan

Oct 24, 2016

Randy Vassh maneuvers an excavator in tandem with his co-worker at a lakefront home in the village of Caledonia, Wisc. 

If you're a Great Lakes geek, you've got to love @twoyellowbuoys on Twitter.  The cheeky account is loaded with data and photos courtesy of a pair of buoys stationed on Lake Michigan by Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant. We wanted to know more about the buoys -- Michigan City and Wilmette -- so we asked them for an interview. They managed to squeeze it in between taking measurements and enjoying the sunsets.

Draken Harald Hårfagre

The replica Viking ship Draken Harald Hårfagre has sailed out of the Great Lakes, wrapping up a contentious visit.